Stephen Meadows’ WINTER WORK is a collection that resounds with intense observations of place. Each poem is a clean and reverent gesture of understanding–natural elements, the damage we inflict upon the land, our history. With brevity and precision, he takes readers on a journey of illness, grief, love, and quiet joy. Memories make story and Meadows makes the geography of feeling a map of locations we want to explore.
“WINTER WORK by Stephen Meadows is a collection of poetry as much as it is a songbook of melodies and prayers to the natural world. An homage to the wind that carries us through experience and emotion, his poems carry his reader through acacias in full bloom, a yard full of bones, a firmament of losses. With visceral details of the elements, he elicits feelings of joy, comfort, and sadness, with encounters of love, romance, death, climate change, and the suffering of Native peoples. A reader may find themselves in meditation with this collection, among the pines, wind, and oaks.” — Georgina Marie, Poet Laureate of Lake County
“These poems offer clear, clean witnessing of our beautiful, aching world. Here ‘in the shadow of the tower’ of the California Missions, with death as ongoing companion, Meadows brings us into deep sensory presence, filling us with reverence for each living moment, with grief for each precious, passing being.” —Kitty Costello, author of Upon Waking and cofounder of the TallMountain Circle
“There is maturity in these poems. Sit down with him in a wild place and listen. He knows.” —Lance Henson, Cheyenne Dog Soldier
“Stephen Meadow’s latest collection of poems is just that, poems. His work escapes
categorization other than that of poetry. You hear the poems from the page; you smell the flowers, wooded places, meadows, and the ancestors he speaks of. You feel the river
flow. The poems touch a place where poetry arrives in both strength and beauty.” — Linda Noel, Poet Laureate of Ukiah Emerita
“WINTER WORK is the play of a soaring brilliance proving through poetry that all phenomena exist at a crossroads, all spirits are both loved and unnamed. In these poems are some of the greatest feats of wisdom I have ever read. In this book, life is the galaxy of brief settings, and none of its shapes go uninvestigated. And your imagination is left to cherish all of the food of rebellion littered about the very room you sit and read this work in.” —Tongo Eisen-Martin, 8th Poet Laureate of San Francisco
“Out of desolation, Stephen Meadows re-centers us on the ‘bright edge of worlds.’ These new poems are a necessary witnessing to the kinds of grief that stalk our continent. Stark lines like ‘The wind is a butcher / carving up the mesquite,’ craft images of genocide, the aftermath of war in veterans’ lives, poverty, despair. Yet without these haunting shadows, the fires of creation could not flare up and burn themselves into our retinas, leaving ‘a new mark’—an intricate weaving that makes WINTER WORK a blazing ember of hope in my cupped hands.” —Deborah A. Miranda, author of Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir and Altar for Broken Things
Poetry. Native American Studies. Environmental Studies.
Stephen Meadows is a California poet with roots in both the Ohlone and the pioneer soil of his home state. He was born and raised on the Monterey Bay of Central California and received his secondary education at U.C. Santa Barbara and U.C. Santa Cruz, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree and went on to earn a Master's Degree at San Francisco State University. In addition to writing poetry, Stephen has dedicated over 30 years to public radio as a programmer of folk music from America, Canada, Ireland and the British Isles, in addition to working more than 20 years as an educator and mentor in the public schools. Meadows is a descendant of native peoples who built the Carmel Mission, gold rush families who settled in the gold country of the foothills and a farm family in Carmel Valley, and his poems are steeped in the indelible aura of California.